We often think of diet and cancer in terms of fruits and vegetables: those with higher intakes of high fiber foods (including fruits and vegetables) tend to have lower rates of certain types of cancer.
It also appears that high meat intake levels are linked with higher rates of cancer – but whether or not that’s something about the meat, or rather that meat-eaters are less likely to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, is not entirely understood.
But a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health may get you thinking about something you should also consume less of when it comes to cancer risk: alcohol.
The researchers looked at years of potential of life lost from alcohol related to cancer and found that 3.2-3.7% of all US cancer death can be attributable to alcohol. That might not sound like a lot, but it equates to 18,200-21,300 cancer deaths per year.
The types of cancer alcohol is most tied to? Breast cancer in women and upper airway and esophageal cancer in men.
Even moderate alcohol intake may be harmful. The researchers also found that the equivalent of 1.5 drinks per day accounted for 26% to 35% of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths.
To learn more about diet and cancer, joint my Coursera class Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Next week’s topic is all about what we know (and don’t know) when it comes to evidence on diet, drinking, and lifestyle choices and cancer risk.